Innovative Practice 2019 on Independent Living and Political Participation

Preparing people with psychosocial and mental disabilities to live in their own homes

Pro ACT Suport is a non-governmental organization based in Bucharest, Romania, that provides accommodation and support as a step between institutionalization and living independently in the community. Persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities live in one of 11 Preparation for Independent Living Centres in Bucharest and the surrounding countryside. Residents are provided with personalised professional support, counselling, and training to prepare them for living independently. As of 2018, 50 people had received support services and 16 had successfully moved on to their own independent lives and accommodations.

“Getting the integrated support I needed, I am now living independently and more, since August this year, I am a happily newly married woman!”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Preparation for Independent Living Centres
Organisation:Pro ACT Suport
of Implementation


  • From 2012 to 2018, the number of Preparation for Independent Living Centres grew from one to 11.
  • To date, 130 people with disabilities have been trained to develop life skills and to start a new life within the community.


People with disabilities who have spent most of their lives in residential institutions often lack the skills and capacities that enable them to live independently in the community.


A woman taking dance lessons.To promote the social inclusion of people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, the Pro ACT Suport Association has developed Preparation for Independent Living Centres – a programme designed to support individuals to develop their independent living skills through a personalized approach. Pro ACT integrates residents into common houses in the community by evaluating their skills and providing a customized programme for development implemented by professionals (social workers, psychologists, vocational counsellors, psychotherapists, etc.). Examples of daily activities include: preparing meals, personal hygiene, managing medications, completing household chores, coordinating transportation, continuing or enrolling in education, administering personal finances, and finding employment.

As of 2018, the organization runs 11 Preparation for Independent Living Centres – seven in rented apartments in Bucharest and four in houses outside the city. Currently, there are 50 people aged 18 to 55 enrolled in the programme. Between 2012 and 2018, 16 people successfully moved on to independent lives, for example, by getting married, finding employment, or moving into rented accommodations.


The Preparation for Independent Living Centres programme costs approximately $800,000 per year and is mostly financed funded through service contracts with local authorities which Pro ACT Suport bids for and through a grant from the Open Society Foundation.

Pro ACT Suport is committed to changing the public mind-set towards persons with disabilities by providing technical assistance and training on deinstitutionalization to countries that are in the process of closing their institutions. Between 2012 and 2018, 130 people with disabilities were trained to develop life skills and to start a new life within the community.

The programme was designed based on Romania’s specific situation, but the organization’s tools and methodology can be readily adapted to different country settings.

Two persons gardening in their community home.


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